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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1990 Feb;85(2):453-9.

A patient with simultaneous absence of "classical" natural killer cells (CD3-, CD16+, and NKH1+) and expansion of CD3+, CD4-, CD8-, NKH1+ subset.

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Iowa City Veterans Administration, Iowa.


The clinical manifestations of putative natural killer (NK) cell deficiency are not well-known but theoretically should include recurrent tumors and systemic viral infections. In this article, we discuss a patient with recurrent condylomata, vulvar and cervical carcinoma in situ, pulmonary infiltrates of unknown significance, and a hypercoagulable state. This patient has a dramatic persistent deficiency in her circulating "classic" NK cells (CD3-, CD16+, NKH1+) and a simultaneous persistent expansion of a normally minor lymphocyte cell subset (CD3+, CD4-, CD8-, NKH1+) that does not express the alpha beta heterodimer of the T cell receptor. T-lymphocyte function, as measured by mitogen and alloantigen responsiveness in vitro, was normal. The coexistence of this particular clinical complex with this unusual set of laboratory abnormalities tends to emphasize our meager understanding of the biologic role of NK cells. At the very least, these findings suggest that the clinical manifestations of NK cell deficiency need not be dominated by disseminated systemic viral infections and that perhaps there should be a higher index of suspicion for the scrutinization of NK cell function.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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